6.9/10
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86 user 29 critic

Apartment Zero (1988)

Set in modern day Buenos Aires, the film centers around a relationship between two emotionally crippled roommates. Adrian LeDuc is a lonely sociopath who is forced to rent his insane ... See full summary »

Director:

Martin Donovan

Writers:

Martin Donovan (story), Martin Donovan (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hart Bochner ... Jack Carney
Colin Firth ... Adrian LeDuc
Dora Bryan ... Margaret McKinney
Liz Smith ... Mary Louise McKinney
Fabrizio Bentivoglio ... Carlos Sanchez-Verne
James Telfer James Telfer ... Vanessa
Mirella D'Angelo ... Laura Werpachowsky
Juan Vitali Juan Vitali ... Alberto Werpachowsky
Cipe Lincovsky ... Mrs. Treniev
Francesca d'Aloja Francesca d'Aloja ... Claudia
Miguel Ligero Miguel Ligero ... Mr. Palma
Elvia Andreoli Elvia Andreoli ... Adrian's Mother
Marikena Monti Marikena Monti ... Tango Singer
Luis Romero Luis Romero ... Projectionist
Oca Spirito Oca Spirito ... Woman in Cinema 1
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Storyline

Set in modern day Buenos Aires, the film centers around a relationship between two emotionally crippled roommates. Adrian LeDuc is a lonely sociopath who is forced to rent his insane mother's room due to poor ticket sales at his revival movie theater. Jack Carney, the new roommate, appears normal enough at first but it soon becomes apparent that he is hiding something. As their friendship develops, Adrian suppresses his suspicions that Jack may be the government mercenary turned serial killer who has been terrorizing the city. The other eccentric residents of the building begin to worry as Adrian shows increasing signs that his mother's insanity may be hereditary. The shocking climax of this twisted tale of deceit, perversion and murder reveals the darker side of the human psyche. Written by Kevin Jundt

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

15 September 1989 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Apartment Zero See more »

Filming Locations:

Argentina See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$670,774
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Liz Smith was cast at short notice after the original cast performer withdrew because of illness. See more »

Quotes

Jack Carney: [after breaking a dead woman's back] I should have been a chiropractor.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Video release was shortened by eight minutes by the director himself. See more »

Connections

References The Carpetbaggers (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Cambalache
By Enrique Santos Discepolo
Arranged by Luis Maria Serra
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Near Unknown Masterpiece
26 July 2014 | by CBreeze_2004See all my reviews

I first saw this film in the 1990s and have no recollection of the format. Given the history of the rights to this film (a story in and of itself), I'm surprised that I stumbled across it anywhere then. I never forgot it though, and whenever the subject of obscure art cinema films came up I would always say that it was 'my favorite' and ask if anyone else had ever seen it. Surprisingly, even those who were studying film in college and knew Colin Firth's canon well had not.

The latest DVD release is priceless for the addition of an original 6 minutes which were cut following the Sundance 1989 and Seattle Film Festival showings and the commentaries from director Martin Donovan and writer/producer David Koepp. Koepp's commentary is especially intriguing because it's presented as a wildly informative and entertaining discussion of independent film making--then and now--with A list director Steven Soderbergh (who'd premiered Sex, Lies, and Videotapes at the same Sundance Festival). As far as I can tell, Soderbergh had nothing to do with Apartment Zero's development, production, or distribution . . . but his insights are priceless. I watched this DVD with my 19 year old film student son, and he found Koepp's and Soderbergh's discussion more informative than any class he's had to date.

I won't try to reiterate the comments of other reviewers on this site-- particularly with respect to Firth's excellent performance--but I have to say something about Hart Bochner.

Bochner certainly was an inspired casting choice. Every time I've watched this movie, I'm left wondering why he didn't end up somewhere in the first tier of 90's lead male role authors. I can't remember seeing him in anything else, and was surprised to find that he appeared in the first Die Hard playing that lech that is trying to move in on Bruce Willis' wife in the early corporate party scene. As far as I can tell, he did some television work and directed a couple of not exactly memorable films (PCU?).

Bochner's character's introduction in the movie is at Firth's doorway, a set shot that has Bochner framed in identical clothing and pose as James Dean in a black and white immediately to his right. A challenging comparison that actually seems to favor Bochner. The camera definitely favors him throughout the film, which would seem to have made him an obvious choice for future studio productions involving male action characters. Did he turn them all down?

Apparently he and Colin Firth have remained very close friends to this day. Anyone have any idea why he didn't rise to the Cruise/Pitt/Clooney level?


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